Thursday, June 29, 2017

Right Here, Right Now: June Report

"It is June. I am tired of being brave." I saw these lines in the beginning of the month and they stuck with me in the weeks that followed. June was fine, but it didn't feel especially summery or celebratory. Nathan is in the midst of summer school, I took on a few too many side projects, and before I knew it we were wrapping up the month. Goals for July: slow down, do less, live more. But first: a look back at June. 


Two whole books! 2017 has been a slow year for reading, so I was glad to finally carve out some time. Scratch: Writers, Money, and the Art of Making a Living was an interesting and sobering look at the financial prospects of writers. (Verdict: not great!) The Refugees was a book club pick and our first time tackling a short story collection. Written by Viet Thanh Nguyen over the course of 20 years, the stories were all about refugees in one form of another, and the collection was highly rated by my club. If you're looking for a beautiful, profound account of journey, discovery, loss, and home, The Refugees won't let you down. 


Not nearly enough. Still plugging away at this blog. Still plugging away at a short story that has taken too many turns. Still feeling guilty about not plugging away at my novel. They say being a writer is like having homework for the rest of your life. They are not wrong. 


A complicated man's demise. We have gotten in an excellent habit of watching Jeopardy every weeknight. We also just finished up season two of Better Call Saul, which we both loved. Nathan and I argue regularly about which show is best - Better Call Saul or Breaking Bad - but maybe it's a tie. I can't help it - I love a good anti-hero. 


Snacks in bulk. One of the perks at my job is a Costco membership, and this month I actually used it! (I love buying in bulk, but I don't like the way it skews my monthly budget - #YNABproblems.) Thanks to a June Costco run, I've been living on Sunrise Energy Bars and Babybel cheese. I've also been buying a personal watermelon at Trader Joe's for $2.99 and eating it all by myself over the course of the week. At this point, I estimate I am approximately 75% watermelon. 


Reverse osmosis water. It's a long story, but about a month ago news broke that DuPont has been dumping a toxic chemical, known as GenX, into our drinking water for the last, oh, three decades or so. All of Wilmington is up in arms (as they should be!) and while they try to find a solution, most experts are advising us to avoid drinking tap water. Unfortunately, the only way to filter out this particular toxin is through reverse osmosis. Some people have bought filters for their faucets, but since we're renters we bought a ceramic water dispenser from Amazon and have been filling up 3-gallon jugs at the co-op. It's a hassle, it's annoying, and it's an expense I certainly didn't budget for. But it's also my health, so we found the money. My biggest concern are those families who don't have an extra $50 for such an alternative. 


JalapeƱo peppers, basil, and eggplant. Our tiny garden has been struggling all summer. It doesn't get quite enough light and the chickens destroyed our broccoli plants, but all is not lost. Our jalapeƱos are finally coming in, we have about seven tiny eggplants chugging along, and I continue to make pesto for pennies once a week. The only plants that truly seem to be suffering (besides the long-gone broccoli) are our cherry tomatoes, which are remain short, squat, and barren. Keep them in your thoughts. 


Dr. Kyle Horton for Congress! I've been getting pretty involved with the local Democratic party, attending meetings and keeping my precinct organized (especially after I was elected chair!). In June, I attended a campaign kickoff event for Dr. Horton, who is hopefully going to unseat our current rep. (My favorite of her slogans: "We need a doctor in the house!") I also organized a very successful precinct picnic. It was a BBQ potluck at a local park and pretty well attended. The only downside was that I ended up spending about $60 on hamburgers and hot dogs. (Why I volunteered to bring the meat is anyone's guess.) Annoying, but a good lesson in the importance of delegation and how much people actually eat. (Hint: much less than $60 worth of meat!) 


My senators. I just realized most of this month's recap is political, and I can offer no apologies. In case you haven't heard, the GOP is pushing a terrible health care bill that has very little support from constituents in either party. (Finally - something we can agree on!) I'm particularly worried about this bill from a financial perspective, because my (Trump-voting) parents are in the group that will see the biggest hike in their premiums, and I'm in no position to help them pay it! If you're looking for an easy way to call your elected officials, check out the website 5Calls. They give you phone numbers, scripts, and some background on the issues of the day - it couldn't be easier! 

Goals for July 

Actually work on my novel, keep pitching freelance articles, read three books, and save democracy. What could be easier? 

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